Instructional Considerations for Outdoor Activities
- Students and parents should be informed of the importance of sun protection.
- Students should be informed of the importance of proper hydration.
- Students should be provided with access to water or water bottles and the opportunity to re-hydrate during activity.
- Students should be properly protected from the sun particularly during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Proper protection can include long shirts and pants (tight woven materials are best), wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses (if the activity allows) and sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 15 or greater.
- Sunscreens should be liberally applied at least 15-30 minutes before going outside.
- Waterproof sunscreens should be used for swimming and water sports.
- Consider sun protection even on cloudy days as 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog.
- Teachers should be aware of students with history of asthma and other respiratory problems and severe allergies, e.g., bee sting allergy. Those students should be encouraged to carry inhaler/auto-injector.
Equipment/Facilities for Outdoor Activities
Inspection of All Outdoor Activity Areas
- Teacher should inspect outdoor activity area prior to use.
- Area should be free of wasp and bee nests, drainage problems or standing water, broken glass, animal feces, and tripping hazards such as cans, rocks, roots, exposed footings or other environmental obstacles and other foreign debris.
- Activity area should be located away from open roadways.
- Playing surfaces should be clearly marked and a sufficient distance from fencing and backstops, signage, lighting standards and bleachers.
- Steps should be taken to report hazardous conditions to administration so that they can be repaired or removed.
- Playing field and surrounding area should be level, well-groomed, and free from obstacles such as protruding sprinkler heads, obstructions and debris.
- Turf should be sufficient to provide proper traction and impact absorption.
- Holes, ruts and severely uneven surfaces should be brought to the attention of the students.
- If more than one activity is underway, ensure safe distance between activities.
- Asphalt areas should be level and free of holes and broken asphalt.
Fencing and Backstops
- Metal fencing and backstops should have clips and attachments safely secured, fencing tight and secure to frame, no holes in fence or at ground level, anchors that are stable to the ground, in good condition and safely covered, and posts free of corrosion.
Benches and Bleachers
- Benches and bleachers should be free of protruding nails, splinters, cracked or rotten wood and the anchors to the ground should be in good condition and safely covered.
- Stairs should be clear of obstacles, free of protruding nails, cracks, or splinters, have treads in good condition, and secure railings.
- Goals should have framework free of protruding hooks, anchors to ground should be stable, in good condition and safely covered, posts should be free of corrosion and, when appropriate, goalpost padding should be securely fastened on goalpost assembly.
- Supervisors should monitor weather conditions and postpone or modify the activity to ensure safety of all individuals.
*More information on weather is available in the Mandatory Reading section.
- Environmental hazards such as trees, exposed roots, and streams may be present on schoolyard and should be identified to all staff and students, and should have warning signs and barriers where needed. Rules for safe play around hazards should be communicated to all students.